Fossil find is oldest European yet

jawbone.jpg

From the nature.com article:
Spanish palaeontologists have dug up the remains of a 1.2-million-year-old humanlike inhabitant of Western Europe. The fossil find shows that members of our genus, Homo , colonized this region far earlier than many experts had thought.

The primitive hominin — represented by just a fragment of jawbone bearing a handful of wobbly-looking teeth — lived in what is now the Sierra de Atapuerca region of northern Spain, an area already known as a treasure trove of early human remains.

The new fossil, uncovered by an experienced team of palaeoanthropologists led by Eudald Carbonell of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, is by far the oldest human bone ever found in the region. The previous oldest fossils have been perhaps 800,000 years old, leading some anthropologists to believe that primitive humans did not reach Western Europe until around half a million years ago.

Now it seems that the earliest inhabitants of modern-day Spain lived there much longer ago. And like many of today’s Spaniards, it seems they were enthusiastic meat-eaters — Carbonell and his team also uncovered primitive stone tools and animal bones bearing signs of butchery. They report the find in this week’s Nature.

Read the rest of the article here.

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